Another win for safe harbour, Spanish court backs YouTube over Telecinco

It’s a familiar story: Old Media sues Google-owned YouTube claiming copyright infringement. This time it was the turn of Spanish broadcaster Telecinco, insisting that YouTube should be liable when users upload copyright-infringing material. However, a federal court in Madrid disagreed and today dismissed all charges, ordering Telecinco to pay court costs in the process.


Naturally, Google is framing it as a win for the Internet or “safe harbour” in which sites like YouTube are an “intermediary”, like the telephone system itself, and aren’t responsible for any illegal behavior carried out by users of that system.

In response to the ruling, Google issued the following statement:

“We are very pleased with today’s ruling. The win today confirms what we have said throughout this process: YouTube complies with the law. The ruling recognizes that YouTube is merely an intermediary content-hosting service and therefore cannot be obliged to pre-screen videos before they are uploaded.”

The court also noted that YouTube “offers content owners tools to remove copyright infringing content and this means that it is the responsibility of the copyright owner – not YouTube – to identify and tell YouTube when infringing content is on its website”, cites Google in a blog post posted by Aaron Ferstman, Head of Communications for YouTube – Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

That settles it then. Till the next time.